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“It’s having an impact on how consumers are behaving,” said David Alport, owner of Bridge City Collective in Portland, which in two weeks saw a 31% drop in sales of vape cartridges that hold the oil that vaporizes when heated. “People are concerned, and we’re concerned.”

Marijuana Dispensaries

CBD Oils and Recreational Weed

Willie Nelson’s Buddy Won A Nobel Prize For Developing A Cancer Drug

To look at Jim Allison, you wouldn’t immediately think that he’s a Nobel Prize-winning immunologist. He looks more like a harmonica player, which he is, too. In fact, you can occasionally catch him onstage playing with his longtime friend, Willie Nelson. But as a new feature-length documentary reveals, Jim Allison is actually the reason why certain people with melanoma have their lives back. Narrated by Woody Harrelson, Jim Allison: Breakthrough features interviews with Allison’s family, professors, reporters, and colleagues, as well as a cancer patient who tried every kind of therapy without any success—until she tried Allison’s breakthrough drug, Ipilimumab.

Allison was born in 1948 and grew up in Texas, the son of a housewife and doctor. His two older brothers called him “diamond-head” for how hardheaded he was, referring to a trait that eventually served in Allison’s favor as a scientist. When not wandering in the woods playing his harmonica, Allison played with a chemistry set in his garage, with encouragement from his father—having lost his mother to lymphoma when he was only 11 years old.

Jim Allison looks at T cells/ Courtesy Malinda Allison

Allison graduated high school at the tender age of 16, heading to the University of Texas in Austin to study biology. It was in college where he learned the importance of perseverance and developed an interest in T cells, which are a central part of the body’s immune response, carrying receptors that have the ability to zero in on a diseased cell and vanquish it. As Michael Curran, Assistant Professor at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, says in the film, “[Allison] was the first one to actually purify the molecule by which T cells recognize everything.”

In 1974, Allison moved to San Diego to learn more about the immune system at Scripps. That’s when he met Willie Nelson and brought him to a local dive bar to play live, developing a friendship with him that led to Allison occasionally playing harmonica in Nelson’s band.

Willie Nelson and Jim Allison in concert/ C3 Presents

Tyler Jacks, director of the Koch Institute for Cancer Research at MIT, says in the film, “Part of Jim’s success is that he’s an iconoclast. He doesn’t care. He doesn’t care that he’s not following convention. He’s following his own thoughts, his own motivations. He’s willing to do it in the face of his colleagues not necessarily believing him.”

Meanwhile, Allison successfully spoke against a Texas bill opposing the teaching of evolution in public schools and was offered a full professorship at Berkeley. He theorized that cancer cells highjack CTLA-4 protein receptors and trick T cells into stopping them from attacking tumors. The theory led to Allison developing his drug, Ipilimumab, or “Ipi,” as it came to be known. But watching the film, one question immediately comes to mind: Was it more difficult to actually develop the drug or to get it to people?

“I think getting it to people,” Allison tells High Times. “There was a lot of well-deserved skepticism. Nonetheless, at a certain point, that became irritating. I can argue the points of the science. If somebody says, ‘Here’s another explanation for what you’re telling me,’ I can buy that. What I can’t accept is somebody saying, ‘It’ll never work, just because.’ That just, to me, is unacceptable. And I went through a couple of years of that.”

Jim Allison winning the Nobel Prize in 2018/ Nobel Media AB

Allison says that many people in the scientific community had the idea that “immunologists were just a bunch of voodoo agents selling snake oil,” which raises another question: Can Allison identify with cannabis researchers who are struggling to fight longstanding stigma, not to mention prohibitive laws against marijuana?

“Yeah, in some ways I can,” he says. “I mean, these are, in a lot of ways, difficult times to live in, with people thinking everybody’s entitled to their own facts. But you’re not. Facts are facts and data is data. I would just tell people, develop the data. The answer’s in the data. Having said that, I will add that you can look at it a number of different ways. Once you’ve got the data, take a step back and say, ‘OK, well, what does this tell me? Because my experiment may be telling me something else. That data that popped out may be telling me something about a question I didn’t even ask here.’ And the only way to find that out is just to look at it and think about it and view it as sort of a crystal. You hold it up to the light and look at it—how it refracts, how it changes as you look at it. Just keep an open mind and don’t just get limited to the narrow channels that most of us are trained to go down.”

Jim Allison: Breakthrough is in theaters September 27.

The post Willie Nelson’s Buddy Won A Nobel Prize For Developing A Cancer Drug appeared first on High Times.

Johnson & Johnson Appeals Oklahoma Judge’s $572 Million Order Against Them

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Consumer products giant Johnson & Johnson is appealing an Oklahoma judge’s $572 million order against the company and its subsidiaries for helping fuel the state’s opioid crisis.

The
company filed an appeal with the Oklahoma Supreme Court on Wednesday,
arguing the ruling was an “unprecedented interpretation of Oklahoma
public nuisance law.”

The judge’s decision that the marketing and
sale of a lawful product can constitute a public nuisance could have
grave implications for all businesses that operate in the state, the
company warned.

“That novel ruling has immense public-policy
implications, undermining product-liability law rules, which have always
governed disputes over the marketing and sales of goods, and
threatening wide-ranging liability for companies that do business in
Oklahoma,” attorneys wrote in the appeal.

In his ruling last
month, Cleveland County District Judge Thad Balkman ordered the company
to pay $572 million to help address the damage the opioid crisis has
caused in the state. Attorneys for the company have said that figure was
grossly inflated.

The state had presented the judge with a plan
to abate the crisis that would have cost between $12.6 billion for 20
years to $17.5 billion over 30 years.

A spokesman for Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter said their office is reviewing the appeal.

Oklahoma’s
case was closely watched because it was the first among more than 1,500
similar lawsuits against drugmakers and others involved in the sale of
opioids filed by state, local and tribal governments to proceed to
trial.

Before the trial began, Oklahoma reached settlements
totaling $355 million from two other groups of defendant drugmakers,
including Oxycontin-maker Purdue Pharma and Israeli-owned Teva
Pharmaceuticals.

Purdue filed for bankruptcy protection earlier
this month, the first step in a plan it says would provide $10 billion
to $12 billion to help reimburse state and local governments for the
costs associated with cleaning up the damage from the opioid crisis.

The post Johnson & Johnson Appeals Oklahoma Judge’s $572 Million Order Against Them appeared first on High Times.

Analytical Instruments You Need to Start a Cannabis Testing Laboratory

The cannabis industry is growing exponentially, and the use of cannabis for medical purposes is being adopted across the nation. With this boom in cannabis consumers, there has been an increasing need for knowledge about the product.

The role of testing labs has become crucial to the process, which makes owning and operating a lab more lucrative. Scientists testing for potency, heavy metals, pesticides, residual solvents, moisture, terpene profile, microbial and fungal growth, and mycotoxins/aflatoxins are able to make meaningful contributions to the medical industry by making sure products are safe, while simultaneously generating profits and a return on investment.

Here are the key testing instruments you need to conduct these critical analyses. Note that cannabis analytical testing requirements may vary by state, so be sure to check the regulations applicable to the location of your laboratory.

Potency Testing

The most important component of cannabis testing is the analysis of cannabinoid profiles, also known as potency. Cannabis plants naturally produce cannabinoids that determine the overall effect and strength of the cultivar, which is also referred to as the strain. There are many different cannabinoids that all have distinct medicinal effects. However, most states only require testing and reporting for the dry weight percentages of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). It should be noted that delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (Δ9-THCA) can be converted to THC through oxidation with heat or light.

For potency testing, traditional high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) is recommended and has become the gold standard for analyzing cannabinoid profiles. Look for a turnkey HPLC analyzer that delivers a comprehensive package that integrates instrument hardware, software, consumables and proven HPLC methods.

Heavy Metal Testing

Different types of metals can be found in soils and fertilizers, and as cannabis plants grow, they tend to draw in these metals from the soil. Heavy metals are a group of metals considered to be toxic, and the most common include lead, cadmium, arsenic and mercury. Most labs are required to test and confirm that samples are under the allowable toxic concentration limits for these four hazardous metals.

Heavy metal testing is performed by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). ICP-MS uses the different masses of each element to determine which elements are present within a sample and at what concentrations. Make sure to include accompanying software that provides assistant functions to simplify analysis by developing analytical methods and automatically diagnosing spectral interference. This will provide easy operation and analytical results with exceptionally high reliability.

To reduce running costs, look for a supporting hardware system that reduces the consumption of argon gas and electricity. For example, use a plasma ignition sequence that is optimized for lower-purity argon gas (i.e., 99.9% argon as opposed to more expensive 99.9999%).

Pesticide Testing

The detection of pesticides in cannabis can be a challenge. There are many pesticides that are used in commercial cannabis grow operations to kill the pests that thrive on the plants and in greenhouses. These chemicals are toxic to humans, so confirming their absence from cannabis products is crucial. The number of pesticides that must be tested for varies from state to state, with Colorado requiring only 13 pesticides, whereas Oregon and California require 59 and 66 respectively. Canada has taken it a step further and must test for 96 pesticides, while AOAC International is developing methods for testing for 104 pesticides. The list of pesticides will continue to evolve as the industry evolves.

Testing for pesticides is one of the more problematic analyses, possibly resulting in the need for two different instruments depending on the state’s requirements. For a majority of pesticides, liquid chromatography mass spectrometry (LCMS) is acceptable and operates much like HPLC but utilizes a different detector and sample preparation.

A moisture balance can provide accurate determination of moisture content in cannabis.

Look for a moisture balance that offers intuitive operation and quick, accurate determination of moisture content. The pan should be spacious enough to allow large samples to be spread thinly. The halogen heater and reflector plate should combine to enable precise, uniform heating. Advanced features can include preset, modifiable measurement modes like automated ending, timed ending, rapid drying, slow drying and step drying.

Another method for preventing mold is monitoring water activity (aW). Very simply, moisture content is the total amount of water available, while water activity is the “free water” that could produce mold. Water activityranges from 0 to 1. Pure water would have an aW of 1.0. ASTM methods D8196-18 and D8297-18 are methods for monitoring water activity in dry cannabis flower. The aW range recommended for storage is 0.55 to 0.65. Some states recommend moisture content to be monitored, other states monitor water activity, and some states such as California recommend monitoring both.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, cannabis growers benefit tremendously from cannabis testing. Whether meeting state requirements or certifying a product, laboratory testing reduces growers’ risk and ensures delivery of a quality product. As medicinal and recreational cannabis markets continue to grow, analytical testing will ensure that consumers are receiving accurately

labeled products that are free from contamination. That’s why it is important to invest in the future of your cannabis testing lab by selecting the right analytical equipment at the start of your venture.

The post Analytical Instruments You Need to Start a Cannabis Testing Laboratory appeared first on Cannabis Industry Journal.

Flashback Fr > 27 Sep 2019 Cheech Marin

In the July, 1981 issue of High Times, Robert Anton Wilson, famed writer of the “Illuminatus” trilogy, leads us through a labyrinth of esoterica with his customary wit and style.

There’s a tale they tell at Military Intelligence in London, when the candles gutter low and the fog curls about the windows. It happened in 1914 (they say), when England was losing the first world war and it seemed only a miracle could save her. There was this writer bloke (they say), name of Arthur Machen, never popular or well known, a bloody Welshman in fact and a mystic to boot. Well (they say), this Welshman, this Machen, took it into his head to write a story about the kind of miracle England needed, so he imagined St. George himself leading a group of medieval archers to aid the English troops at Mons. And after the story was published in a magazine, some enterprising newspapers picked it up and reprinted it as fact. And (they say) the whole damned country was gullible enough to believe it. It did as much for national morale as the real miracle would have.

What is even weirder is the sequel—and the chaps at Military Intelligence only discuss this when the candles gutter quite low and the fog is very thick, of course. Soldiers at the front, in Mons, began claiming that they had actually seen the phantom archers created out of Machen’s imagination. They insisted on it. Some of them were still insisting on it 40 years later. They said they had won the battle because of this supernatural assistance.

Fair gives you a turn, doesn’t it?

Stranger still: Machen, the man with the contagious imagination, was a member of a secret society in London. This was known as the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, and it claimed to know the long-hidden secrets of Cabalistic magic.

There were several other members of the Golden Dawn who made a bit of a name. Florence Farr, one of the great actresses of the period, was a member, and it was she who gave Bernard Shaw the ideas about life-energy and longevity dramatized in Back to Methuselah; those ideas are currently influencing life-extension research. Algernon Blackwood and Bram Stoker (Dracula’s creator) were members; so was the coroner of London; so was an electrical engineer named Alan Bennett who later, as Ananda Maitreya, played a key role in introducing Buddhist ideas to the West.

The egregious Aleister Crowley, who claimed to have come to earth to destroy Christianity, was a member for a while, and I know a good World War I story about him, too. It was Crowley’s habit to give his pupils a word to meditate on every year. In 1918, Crowley gave them a number instead of a word: 11. All year his pupils meditated on 11 for at least a half hour every day… And the war ended on the 11th minute of the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.

Did you feel another queer flash then?

The most famous Golden Dawn alumnus, however, was the great Irish poet, William Butler Yeats. In 1894 Yeats predicted that “the right pupils will be drawn to (the Golden Dawn) by dreams and visions and strange accidents…”

Cabala, the working philosophy behind the Golden Dawn, is the science of “strange accidents”—which are known as “mere coincidences” to the rationalist or “synchronicities” to Jungian psychologists.

Cabala (also spelled Qabala or Kaballah) was either taught by God to Adam in the Garden of Eden, according to its own tradition, or was invented by a group of rabbis c. A.D. 200 as a means of transmitting the esoteric inner teachings of Judaism after the fall of Jerusalem and the Dispersion. Among the prominent medieval and Renaissance philosophers who were Cabalists one can mention Raymond Lull, Cornelius Agrippa, Giordano Bruno, Dr. John Dee, Pico della Mirandola and Isaac Newton. Cabala became unfashionable in the 18th century and did not begin to make a comeback until the Brain Explosion of the 1960s—the drug culture, the consciousness movement, the importation of Oriental mind-sciences, the popularity of Jung and Leary and Castaneda.

One way to get into the Cabalistic head space is to reflect long and hard on the singular fact that we could not live—could not breathe, in fact—without the trees busily pumping oxygen into the air. Yet the trees are not “thinking” about producing life-support for us. To the rationalist, it seems that our need for oxygen has no real connection with the trees’ production of that element; sheer chance (or, the more vehement rationalists will anthropomorphically say, “blind chance”) happens to have produced trees, through natural selection, over many aeons. The fact that we exist is, to this philosophy, a total accident, a very strange coincidence.

And, to the same rationalist, Arthur Machen’s imagination has no real connection with what was happening on the battlefield at Mons. The magical link between Machen’s imagination and the “collective hallucination” of the soldiers is just coincidence—like the magical link between us and the trees.

To the Cabalist, the rationalist sounds like a man found in a closet by a jealous husband, who hopefully explains, “Just by coincidence, while you were away on business I happened to wander into this closet without my clothes on…”

To the Cabalist, the whole universe is a network of meaningful connections. The seemingly coincidental is as full of meaning as anything else. To begin thinking like a Cabalist you must regard everything as being just as important as everything else. All that seems “accidental,” “meaningless,” “chaotic,” “weird,” “nonsensical,” et cetera is as significant as what seems lawful, orderly and comprehensible.

An elementary Cabalistic training technique is to try every day to “regard every incident and event as a direct communication between God and your soul.” Even the license plates on passing cars are such communications—or can be considered as such—by the devout Cabalist.

Some will be thinking of Freud at this point; and indeed Nathan Fodor points out in Freud, Jung and the Occult that Freud was heavily influenced by a friend who was a Cabalist. The “dreams, visions and strange accidents” that Yeats thought would bring people into the ambience of the Golden Dawn are all Freudian “unconscious material.”

A more modern metaphor is to be found in current neurology which points out that the brain is divided into two hemispheres. The left hemisphere is where we do most of our conscious thinking, and it is linear, it breaks things down into sequences of A-causes-B, B-causes-C, and so forth. The right hemisphere, on the contrary, thinks in gestalt—meaningful wholes, comprehensive systems.

Cabala, like dope, is a deliberate attempt to overthrow the linear left brain and allow the contents of the holistic right brain to flood the field of consciousness. When you are walking down the street and every license plate seems part of one continuous message—one endless narrative—you are thinking like a very advanced theoretical Cabalist. (Or else you’re stoned out of your gourd.)

Practical Cabala (or Cabalistic magic) is the art of utilizing such holistic perception to create effects that will seem like “strange accidents” to the non-Cabalist.

A legendary example concerns an incident when the king of Poland was being urged by his advisers to authorize a pogrom against the Jews. One old Hasidic rabbi—and the Hasidic rabbis spend most of their time studying Cabala—sat down, on hearing of this, and pretended to be writing something; but he did not write. Instead, he deliberately knocked his bottle over three times. His students, who saw this, thought the old man was getting a bit funny in the head. Then, a few days later, came news from the capital: The king had tried to sign the order for the pogrom three times, and each time he had—by “strange accident”—knocked over his ink bottle. “I can’t sign this,” the king finally exclaimed. “God is against it!”

Every oriental culture has some equivalent to Cabala—some neuroscience of meditations, visualizations and yogic contortions calculated to shift consciousness, or part of consciousness, from the usually overactive left hemisphere to the usually underactive right hemisphere. Cabala differs from all these Oriental disciplines in being as systematic as any natural science—although far weirder.

The system of Cabala is contained in a kind of ontological periodic table of elements (see illustration above). The purpose of this diagram has been nicely defined by the eminent contemporary Cabalist (and Jungian psychologist) Dr. Israel Regardie, who describes it as “a mnemonic system of psychology… to train the Will and Imagination.”

The tree, as you can see, is made up of ten circles, called lights, and 22 paths connecting the lights. Each light represents a separate level of consciousness, and hence a separate level of “reality.” That is, to the Cabalist, each perceived reality is a function of the level of consciousness which perceives it, and how much reality you can absorb depends on how rich your consciousness is.

The paths, which are more technical than the lights, are techniques for getting from one light (one level of awareness) to another.

The aim of the Cabala is to always know which “light” you are in, which is the level of consciousness that is creating what you are perceiving; and then to know the paths, or tricks, to get from one light (perceived reality) to another.

Dion Fortune, a Cabalist who also practiced psychoanalysis under her birth name, Violet Wirth, sums it all up by saying Cabala is “the art of causing change in consciousness by act of will.”

The Tree of Life may be regarded as a map of those parts of consciousness which (a) are active in everybody—the lower parts of the tree; and (b) those which are only active in various orders of adepts—the higher parts of the tree.

The pragmatic theory of Cabala is that each action creates a new “universe,” each experiment creates a new experimenter, each dance creates a new dancer. We are growing and evolving all the time, without noticing it usually; but at certain crucial points we can make a mental quantum jump to a level of awareness that puts us in a new reality we have never noticed before. Each of the lights on the Tree of Life represents such a quantum jump.

High Times

Concretely, we all start out in Malkuth, at the bottom of the tree, which represents the lowest level of awareness. This is what Freud called the oral stage: We simply drift and wait to be fed. Alcoholics, opiate addicts and most of the people on welfare for “psychological” reasons represent this state in its pure form, but we all contain it and relapse into it under sufficient stress. “I can’t cope; somebody come help me.” Hear the infant’s shrill cry “Maaa-Maaa!” and you know what Malkuth is all about.

Above this is Yesod, the area of strong ego-awareness and what Gurdjieff called conscious suffering. This is where you struggle to be a real mensch, to be honorable, responsible, and self-sufficient. If you never get beyond this, you become what doctors called Type A and are a good bet for an early heart attack.

There are two ways to transcend Yesod’s struggles. One takes you to Hod, which can be called the tactic of the rationalist (Dr. Carl Sagan will serve as a model for this), and the other to Netzach, which is the strategy of the ordinary religionist (Jerry Falwell, say).

According to Cabala, both the rationalist and the vulgar religionist are unbalanced; in modern neurological language, the rationalist leans too much on the left brain and the religionist too much on the right brain. The synthesis, or balancing, brings you to the Middle Pillar and is represented by the light called Tiphareth—which charmingly enough means “beauty” in English.

Looking at the tree, you can see that the rationalist has a different path to Tiphareth from that of the religionist. The rationalist must go the path of nun (“fish”) and the religionist the path of ayin (“eye”). Any book on Cabala will tell you what nun and ayin imply in terms of the psychological transformation involved. Fortunately the tarot cards were either created or revised by a Cabalist and the meanings of nun and ayin are vividly conveyed to the unconscious by the two cards called, respectively, Death and the Devil. Anybody with even a rudimentary knowledge of psychology can grasp part of what is meant here—the rationalist must “make friends with” Death and the religionist with the Devil. This is what Jung means when he says each man must face his own shadow.

(Every path on the tree has a tarot card illustrating it, and the quickest way to make the tree clear to your unconscious is to lay out the cards representing the paths between each light. The next step is to redesign the cards in terms of your own understanding. Some Cabalists redesign the tarot every two or three years, as their understanding grows.)

Tiphareth, the balanced center between and above both rationalism and religion, means beauty, as we said above. It is the first light that does not appear in normal, statistically average consciousness, and is identified with everything we mean by rebirth or awakening. It is dhyana in the Hindu system, “Buddha-mind” in Buddhism, the “New Adam” in St. Paul’s epistles, Cosmic Christ Consciousness to Christian Cabalists. It represents a total reorganization of the psyche for a higher level of functioning than most humans ever attain. When Dr. Timothy Leary says gnomically that “the nervous system sees no color, feels no pain” he means that the nervous system on this level sees no color, feels no pain. You are floating, and this is the first light on the tree that really feels like a light. Acidheads will know.

Above Tiphareth are two more unbalanced lights called Geburah and Chesed. Roughly, Geburah is the stage of Nietzsche’s superman: he who is much more conscious than ordinary people and knows it. In George Lucas’s symbolism, Geburah means “being seduced by the dark side of the Force.” It needs to be balanced by Chesed, which is humility in the deepest, more ego-destroying sense. In Castaneda’s lingo, Geburah is “taking responsibility” and Chesed is doing so while always remembering that “you are no more important than the coyote.”

Geburah says “I am God”; Chesed says, “And so is everybody else—and everything else!”

There are three more lights on the tree. These are known as the supernals and are much further from ordinary human consciousness than Tiphareth, Geburah or Chesed. Many Cabalists say that you cannot reach the supernals without the direct help of the Almighty. Even with such divine aid, reaching the supernals is known as “crossing the abyss” and is regarded as fraught with peril.

The first two supernals are Chokmah and Binah. You will note on the diagram that they are both unbalanced—off the Middle Pillar. Basically, Chokmah is direct contact with the masculine aspect of “God” and corresponds to whatever you associate with Jehovah, Jupiter, Brahma, Zeus, et cetera. Binah is direct contact with the female side of divinity and corresponds to Venus, Ishtar, Kali or the White Goddess that Robert Graves is always writing about. Cabala says that each of these Close Encounters has to be “balanced.” That is, you have to get beyond both Big Daddy and Big Mommy to arrive at the ultimate light, Kether, the balanced center of all consciousness, which is beyond gender, beyond space, beyond time, beyond words and beyond all categories. In short, Kether is exactly what all the Oriental mystics are seeking: pure consciousness without a blemish of emotion, idea or image, and therefore infinite and formless.

Cabala is very complicated and very very intricate; the above sketch is no more than a hint of what the Tree of Life contains, on about the level of a discussion of chemistry that tells you there are eight families of elements but does not go on to list the elements in each family. To discuss Cabala fully requires many books; and indeed there is one good-sized book, Liber 777, by Aleister Crowley, which consists only of listing the elements in each light and path of the tree, and Liber 777 consists of 155 pages with four columns on each page.

The purpose of such lists is to design rituals, and the purpose of rituals is to program your own experience as you navigate from one light to another. As Tim Leary once said, “Ritual is to the inner sciences what experiment is to the outer sciences.” Cabalists agree.

For instance, suppose you have had a very powerful experience of the Punishing Father aspect of God, such as John Calvin once had. Within the orthodox Judeo-Christian tradition, you might take this literally and proceed, as Calvin did, to establish a new religion. As a Cabalist, you will recognize it as a Chokmah experience and know that it needs to be balanced by a Binah experience.

You then look on the Tree of Life for a path from Chokmah to Binah. That turns out to be daleth (“door”), which corresponds to the Empress card in the tarot. If you look at the Empress you will immediately note that she happens to be a pregnant woman sitting in a field surrounded by vegetation. That should tell your unconscious what the path of daleth means. (By a “strange accident” or “mere coincidence” the Empress card, in most tarot decks, contains the women’s-liberation symbol and always has, long before there was a feminist movement. That should help jar your consciousness.)

High Times

If the Empress card doesn’t tell you enough, you look up daleth in any Cabalistic textbook, such as Crowley’s 777. You will find that daleth is “in correspondence with” such things as the planet Venus, the color emerald green, the swan, the rose, sandalwood incense, the heptagram (seven-sided polygon), et cetera, and is most powerful on Friday. Thus, to get from Chokmah to Binah, you construct a ritual—a dramatized mind-change operation—to be performed within a heptagram, on Friday evening as Venus is rising, using emerald green decorations, roses, swan feathers and sandalwood incense. If you follow all these correspondences, and know how to write rituals, and have had enough experiences with Cabala to have developed a powerful will and imagination, you should achieve Binah, the vision of the All-Loving Mother.

Similarly, there are favorable days, and perfumes, and geometric figures, and other accessories, for every type of brain change operation. Sunday is best for Tiphareth (Christ consciousness), Monday for Yesod (building a stronger ego), Tuesday for Geburah (accumulating power), Wednesday for Hod (wisdom), Thursday for Netzsch (moral strength), Friday for Binah and Saturday for Chokmah.

This is only the skeleton of Cabala, however. Real Cabalistic practice consists of so familiarizing yourself with all the correspondences on the Tree of Life that everything you experience is filed and indexed by your brain as a Cabalistic “message.” Thus, if you walk out the door and see a palm tree, you immediately (by self-conditioning with Cabala) think of Venus and Hermes—because door is daleth is Venus, and palm is beth is Hermes. If you see a license plate with 333 on it, you remember that that is the number of egotism and deception, and you must ask what egotism and deception remains in yourself. In short, nothing is trivial; nothing is insignificant; nothing is meaningless. The whole universe, as Crowley says, becomes a continuous ritual of initiation.

A Zen Master was once asked, “What is Zen?” “Attention,” he replied. “Is that all?” asked the inquirer. “Attention,” the Zen Master repeated. “Won’t you say anything else?” persisted the questioner. “Attention,” said the Master, one more time.

Cabala creates attention by using the Tree of Life to “key” every possible impression to one of the lights or paths and hence to a stage in the evolution of consciousness. The world becomes—as it was to Plato and Mary Baker Eddy and Sir Humphrey Davy when he tried nitrous oxide—nothing but ideas.

Theoretical cabala is much concerned with words and numbers, and indeed insists that every word is a number. This is literally true in Hebrew, because all Hebrew letters are numbers, and the number of a word is the number obtained by adding its separate letters together. Cabala claims that any words having the same number are in some sense identical or “in correspondence with” each other.

For instance, achad (I am writing the Hebrew as if it were English, for simplicity’s sake) has the value of 13. So does ahebah. What does this mean? Well, achad translates as “unity” and ahebah as “love,” so by the mathematical theorem that things equal to the same thing are equal to each other, the Cabalist calculates that love (ahebeh) equals 13 and unity (achad) equals 13 and therefore love equals unity. And, of course, when you love somebody you are in union with them: You are happy when they are happy; you suffer when they suffer.

Better still, it works backwards, too, according to some Cabalists: 31 is 13 backwards and therefore 31 is mystically the same as 13. And Al, the oldest name of God in Hebrew, has the value 31. Therefore, God equals love equals unity.

Which is all very nice and cheerful, and it’s pleasant to have our first lesson in theoretical Cabala coming up with such pleasant information.

Unfortunately, la (nothing) also equals 31. Is God therefore nothing? Or is it unity that is nothing? or love?

The theoretical Cabalist is not abashed. God is nothing, he says firmly—no-thing. And in this he is in agreement with the Buddhists and Hindus and, indeed, the most advanced mystics of all traditions. It only sounds queer to those primitives down at the bottom of the Tree of Life in Hod (rationalism) or Netzach (conventional religion); if you persist in Cabala long enough, the divine no-thing will make perfect sense to you.

Unfortunately, before you arrive at Kether—”the Head without a Head,” the divine nothing—you will be sure to encounter even worse shocks in theoretical Cabala. Thus, neschek, the serpent in Genesis, the devil himself, has the value 358. You don’t have to look far to find another Hebrew word with the value 358. It jumps up at you, as soon as you start studying Cabala. It is messiah.

In what sense is the devil the messiah? Some Cabalists have gone quite batty working on that one.

The charm of Cabala is that the universe adjusts—or in your excited and overstimulated state, appears to adjust—in ways that heighten such perplexities. When I first discovered the 358-equals-devil-equals-messiah paradox, I had to go to Los Angeles on business. Arriving at my hotel I found I had been given room 358. That’s the sort of “strange accident” that Yeats was talking about, as one of the portals to Cabala…

For several years English biologist Lyall Watson has been collecting the products of Jung’s “collective unconsciousness”—dreams, hypnotic states, mediumistic phenomena, automatic writing, et cetera. In his book, Lifetide, Watson offers a tentative summary of the data: “…there is a sameness in the tone, the word structure, the feeling, and the delivery of almost all the material. It has a dreamlike quality, and my feeling is that the vast majority of all the evidence I am looking at is a series produced by one prodigious dreamer” (italics added).

William Butler Yeats, trying to justify his interest in Cabalastic magic to rationalistic friends, came up with the same metaphor: “The borders of our minds are ever shifting, and many minds can flow into one another, as it were, and create or reveal a single mind … our memories are part of one great memory, the memory of Nature herself.”

This “one great dreamer” or “one great memory” can be accessed by Cabalistic practices, or by Zen meditation, or by LSD, or by a dozen other gimmicks. It has the quality of oneness in that it is the same no matter who accesses it or when—whether they are in India 500 B.C. or Florence A.D. 1300 or in New York City today. It seems to be “timeless” or unconnected to our conscious notions of sequential time, as even so materialistic an observer as Freud noticed. One of the benefits of the psychological investigations of our times—from Freud and Jung to the LSD research of the ’60s and the human-potential movement—has been to make most of us aware again, for the first time since the 17th century that this level of the psyche exists in all of us and cannot safely be repressed or ignored.

The Cabalist, scorned by the 19th century as a crank or a charlatan, seems to be having the last laugh after all. There may be only one person in 10,000—or in 100,000—who seriously studies Cabala, but the avant-garde third of the population understands Cabalistic logic very well. If you show them the Tree of Life, and explain it, they might say that it is an alternative map of the chakras—if they are into Oriental mind-science; or an anatomy of the collective unconscious—if they’re into Jung; or the circuits of the nervous system—if Tim Leary is their bag; but one way or another they will recognize it. It looked like gibberish to Yeats’s contemporaries.

Military Intelligence never could figure out how the “angelic archers” escaped from Arthur Machen’s imagination to the perceptions of the soldiers at Mons. But the readers of this magazine understand. Don’t you?

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Man On LSD Falls Into Lake At Disneyland Paris, Found Naked After Massive Search

Surely being the target of a 130-person Disneyland Paris manhunt is enough to expand one’s consciousness? Hopefully, a Swiss man who fell in one of the amusement park’s lakes on Friday night, shortly after ingesting LSD with his girlfriend, thinks so.

Pirate’s Beach in Adventureland was the site of the debacle, which began when a 32-year-old did not come back to the surface when his partner saw him fall into the water feature, which also houses Captain Hook’s ship and Peter Pan landmark Skull Rock. The girlfriend, understandably, freaked all the way out and alerted the authorities that the happiest place on earth was no longer feeling that way for her, having potentially witnessed her boyfriend’s death by hallucinogen-induced drowning.

A large search ensued for the poor, tripping soul, with 30 firefighters, 10 divers, 10 policemen, 80 park employees, and a police helicopter with a thermal-imaging camera enlisted to track the guy down. Disneyland Paris, you see, was also disinterested in being the site of a hallucinogen-induced drowning.

Happily, no one had perished, and the tripping man was found relatively quickly if not completely safe and sound. He was picked up by a driver, who found him completely naked and walking down the side of the road a mile away from Disneyland Paris at around 1 a.m. on Saturday.

“He had scratches on his legs and arms,” the driver told French newspaper Le Parisien. “He did not remember anything.” The driver kindly gave the nude man a ride back to the amusement park where his not-so-great trip had began.

Any Consequences for Tripping at the Happiest Place on Earth?

Will the man go to Disneyland Jail? Le Parisien says that he and his girlfriend were detained and subsequently released by the actual police. In France, drug policy dictates that people can technically be sentenced to up to a year of jail time, but also can be released with a caution and the directive to attend a drug awareness course.

Disney has been quite clear that they are not open to certain drugs being part of people’s theme park experience. In 2017, it announced a complete ban on all cannabis products, even after Florida instituted a medical marijuana program. Earlier this year, a 69-year-old woman was locked up for 12 hours when Disneyland security guards found that she was carrying a bottle of CBD oil.

How to avoid falling into a similar state as the hapless, near-drowned and naked Disneyland-goer? You may wish to consult Sophie Saint Thomas’ recent guide to taking LSD, which counsels one to “cultivate a space in which you feel happy and safe.” But it also—and this is key if you feel you’re prone to crowd-induced panic attacks—advises “starting slow” with the setting. That may not indicate tripping at one of the world’s best loved, most expensive, and least-friendly-to-drug-use places on earth.

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Kansas City Police Chief Believes Cannabis Is Behind City’s Rising Murder Rate

Chief Rick Smith of the Kansas City Police Department wrote in a blog on Wednesday that he believes that cannabis is responsible for his city’s higher than average murder rate. Kansas City, Missouri placed #26 on the list of U.S. cities with 100,000 or more residents with the highest murder rate, based on FBI data from 2015 to 2016, the most recent available.

To back his claim, Smith writes in his blog that 10 murders in the city this year have been directly motivated by marijuana, and include a fews details from a recent homicide.

“Most of these marijuana-related shootings start as robberies of marijuana or the money connected to it,” Smith wrote.

Smith attempts to head off arguments that legalizing cannabis would remove the criminal elements inherent in the illicit market by citing a report that shows that violent and property crimes increased in Colorado, Oregon, and Washington following the legalization of marijuana in those states.

Of course, correlation does not imply causation and Smith seems to acknowledge this fact.

“There is nothing to prove the rise in violent crime was caused by legalized recreational marijuana in the states that have experienced it,” he wrote.

However, this knowledge did not prevent him from asserting this unfounded conclusion only two sentences previously.

“Legalization is no panacea, and has in fact increased crime and drugged driving in the states where it has happened,” wrote Smith.

Smith also fails to mention that not one community from Oregon, Washington, or Colorado appears on the aforementioned list of the 30 most murderous cities in the U.S.

Smith ends his blog by encouraging readers to send comments to him via email at [email protected]

Proposed Ordinance Would Eliminate Penalties for Pot Possession

Smith wrote his blog post following testimony from Capt. Scott Simons of the Kansas City Police Department who testified before a meeting of the city council’s Finance, Governance and Public Safety Committee on Wednesday. The police captain was appearing to oppose a proposed ordinance that would eliminate penalties for possession of less than 100 grams of marijuana.

“Marijuana is obviously a concern. In regards to the violent crime, we have 10 homicides,” Capt. Scott Simons said.

Approximately 15 people, including Justin Palmer, appeared at the committee to support the proposed ordinance, according to a report in local media.

“The people are speaking. They’d like to be heard, and this is very important for them to say the worst thing about marijuana is being caught with it,” said Palmer.

In 2017, Kansas City reduced the penalty for possession of less than 35 grams of marijuana to a fine of $25. But Timothy Gilio, the founder of the Missouri Marijuana Legalization Movement, said a conviction also carries significant collateral damage.

“You end up with a criminal record that prevents you from having a scholarship, prevents you from entering the military. There are all kinds of repercussions from this $25 fine,” said Gilio.

Christina Frommer, the co-founder of Canna Convict Project, noted that the ordinance would also have positive results for the community.

“This is going to benefit the public greatly. It is going to prevent a lot of police interaction,” Frommer said. “It’s going to cut down on probation and parole.”

The committee ended the meeting without putting the proposed ordinance up for a vote. The city council is expected to revisit the issue at a committee meeting scheduled for October 23.

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Reports Show Sales of Cannabis Vapes Plummeting Am > 26 Sep 2019 Cheech Marin

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Vaping products, one of the fastest-growing segments of the legal marijuana industry, have taken a hit from consumers as public health experts scramble to determine what’s causing a mysterious and sometimes fatal lung disease among people who use e-cigarettes.

The ailment has sickened at least 530 people and killed nine. Some vaped nicotine, but many reported using oil containing THC, marijuana’s high-inducing ingredient, and said they bought products from pop-up shops and other illegal sellers. The only death linked to THC vapes bought at legal shops occurred in Oregon.

Amid the health scare, the amount of the legal pot industry’s revenue that comes from vape products has dropped by 15% nationwide, with some states, including Oregon, seeing decreases of more than 60%.

Health officials in California, home to the world’s largest legal marijuana marketplace, this week issued an advisory urging people to stop all forms of vaping until a cause is determined. Massachusetts, which like California allows so-called recreational use of marijuana by people 21 and older, went further than any other state, issuing a four-month ban on vape sales.

Can Vape Companies Survive The Scare?

Vaping THC is popular for those desiring a quick high without the smoke that comes from lighting up joints. Marijuana companies are trying to boost the public’s confidence by promoting that their vaping products are tested by the government, demanding ingredient lists from their vendors and in some cases pulling items from shelves. Some also are scrambling to get liability insurance.

Still, many have seen notable declines in sales in the few weeks since the health scare emerged on a national scale.

“It’s having an impact on how consumers are behaving,” said David Alport, owner of Bridge City Collective in Portland, which in two weeks saw a 31% drop in sales of vape cartridges that hold the oil that vaporizes when heated. “People are concerned, and we’re concerned.”

In the United States’ booming legal cannabis market, vaping products have exploded in popularity. In roughly two years, they have grown from a small fraction of overall sales to about one-third, with $9.6 billion in sales between 2017 and 2019, according to New Frontier Data, an economic analysis firm that tracks the industry. About one-fifth of U.S. cannabis consumers report using them.

New Frontier found a 15% decline in the market share for vape sales nationwide during the first week of September and saw no rebound in data collected through Sept. 18. At the state level, New Mexico, Massachusetts, Nevada and Montana all saw drops of one-third or more, while California fell by 6%.

Oregon, which announced its death at the beginning of the month and said it was from a vape purchased at a regulated dispensary, saw one of the biggest drops in market share for vape revenue — 62%, said John Kagia, the firm’s chief knowledge officer.

Analysts are watching to see if further erosion occurs following congressional testimony Tuesday by Dr. Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who said the number of lung illnesses could soon climb by the hundreds.

“This is a very, very fast-moving issue, and it will likely be a couple more weeks, if not months, before we understand the impact it’s really had on the retail ecosystem and on consumers’ attitudes,” Kagia said.

In an explosively growing market, “it’s not unexpected that something would come up that would be disruptive,” he said. “But the question is, how quick is the industry’s response and how agile is that response to assure the public and regulators that this issue is being addressed and there’s robust self-governance?”

How State And Health Officials Are Responding

Doctors have said the illnesses resemble an inhalation injury, with the lungs apparently reacting to a caustic substance. So far, no single vaping product or ingredient has been linked to the illnesses. Some patients who have vaped only nicotine also have gotten ill.

Health officials in New York are focusing on vitamin E acetate, a viscous solution that’s sometimes added to marijuana oils. Retailers in some markets are pulling products from their shelves that contain that and other additives. Other companies have proactively released public statements saying their vape oils contain only pure THC.

In Illinois, a message board for medical marijuana patients banned posters from sharing home vape recipes.

“I just do THC. No flavor additives. I won’t even take that chance,” said Lisa Haywood, a medical marijuana card holder who lives outside Chicago and follows the board for advice and support.

Other medical marijuana users are worried about restrictions on vaping.

If there’s a ban, “what does it do for all these people who have been seeing relief? … It is going to really impact patients and the industry that we’ve fought” to create, said Melanie Rose Rodgers, a Colorado medical cannabis patient and a leader of the state’s chapter of Americans for Safe Access, which advocates for medical marijuana patients.

State regulators track the cannabis sold to consumers but don’t monitor what additives, if any, are in marijuana oil vapes. That’s led states to begin discussions of how to tighten restrictions on vaping products even as retailers themselves try to determine which of the products on their shelves contain so-called cutting agents.

“We haven’t evolved our system that far to think about what we would test for in those products. A lot of these additives were conceptual at the time when the (marijuana legalization) law passed and the program came into place,” said Steve Marks, executive director of the Oregon Liquor License Commission, which oversees the state’s cannabis industry.

“Figuring that out is part of the evolution that we have to do as a consumer protection agency,” he said. “Science is not going to guide us because science is lagging.”

Hilary Bricken, a Los Angeles-based attorney whose firm specializes in cannabis business law and regulatory issues, said the legal marijuana industry is moving so fast that many states are “literally making this up as they go,” and the vaping scare has stripped away the sense of security that consumers get from buying from a licensed dispensary.

The vaping crisis will undoubtedly hasten tighter regulation at the state level and force the industry to patrol itself better to avoid crippling lawsuits, she said.

Bobby Burleson, an analyst with Toronto-based investment and financial services company Canaccord Genuity, said the initial problems for the vape segment of the cannabis industry should moderate, and the health scare may in the end help the legal marijuana industry.

The crisis “should ultimately accelerate the shift away from the black market for cannabis products in the U.S.,” he said.

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La Salud Mental y El Cannabis: La demencia.

¿Se puede tratar la demencia con cannabis?

Se diagnostica un nuevo caso de demencia cada tres segundos.

Según la Organización Mundial de la Salud, la demencia es un síndrome demasiado común que no es una parte normal del envejecimiento. La OMS informa que 47 millones de personas en el mundo sufren de demencia a partir del 2015. De ellas, el 63% viven en países de ingresos medios a bajos. La OMS espera que este número aumente al 71% para 2050.

La demencia es un término que describe los síntomas de una pérdida en funciones específicas del cuerpo: comunicación, rendimiento diario y memoria. El síndrome, no una enfermedad, se asocia más comúnmente con los ancianos, y su probabilidad aumenta a medida que una persona envejece.

Si bien algunos combinan la demencia con la enfermedad de Alzheimer, es importante tener en cuenta la distinción de que la enfermedad de Alzheimer es una enfermedad específica agrupada bajo la demencia.

El daño causado por la demencia a menudo se extiende más allá del paciente y en la vida de sus familiares. Si bien intentamos contactar a las familias afectadas por la demencia, ninguno pudo proporcionar a High Times sus cuentas personales. Sin embargo, un blog personal publicó la historia de su familia, describiendo algunas de las decisiones difíciles que una familia podría tener que tomar con respecto a sus seres queridos.

“Cuando el Alzheimer de mamá progresó hasta el punto de que se volvió combativa y la higiene personal se convirtió en un problema, mi hermano planeó llevarla a un hogar de ancianos, pero dejé mi trabajo para cuidarla. La mudé a Portland conmigo y me hice cargo de su cuidado, para centrarme en la calidad de su vida restante ”, dice la publicación.

La cuenta pasó a enumerar los numerosos medicamentos que tomaba la madre del escritor antes de cambiar al cannabis. Incluyeron cinco medicamentos de venta libre y tres inhaladores, así como medicamentos para el asma, convulsiones, alergias y otras dolencias.

Además de los blogs personales, el tratamiento de la demencia con cannabis atrajo la atención nacional, es el caso de la familia Spier. Alexander Spier, el patriarca de la familia, fue un sobreviviente del Holocausto que se convirtió en propietario de negocios en los Estados Unidos. Los dos años previos a su muerte por afecciones relacionadas con el Alzheimer en 2017 fueron, previsiblemente, dolorosos para él y su familia, e involucraron episodios como abandonar su hogar de ancianos dos veces, lo que requirió que la familia de Spier lo trasladara a Florida a un centro de atención dedicado.

Hoy, la familia opera la Spier Family Foundation, que ofrece apoyo a varios hospitales y sus esfuerzos de investigación médica.

El Dr. Rahul Khare es un médico que trabaja en estos esfuerzos. El fundador y CEO de Innovative Express Care & Innovative Ketamine Care dijo que su trabajo incluye el estudio de los usos terapéuticos del cannabis medicinal y el CBD para varias afecciones mentales y físicas.

El médico con sede en Chicago ha utilizado CBD, THC y otros compuestos en el perfil de la planta para abordar los síntomas y afecciones de los pacientes. Dijo que el cannabis puede ser más adecuado para tratar el comportamiento agresivo de un paciente. El Dr. Khare explicó que, tradicionalmente, un paciente recibiría una benzodiazepina, como Ativan o Valium, para abordar dicho comportamiento. El resultado final es una persona que está fuera de servicio durante cuatro a seis horas.

En cambio, el médico recomienda una tintura de cannabis en las encías o un aerosol nasal. “Es mucho más probable que los pacientes cumplan con el consumo de cannabis debido al perfil de efectos secundarios más bajo que otras drogas en el manejo de estos síntomas agresivos de demencia”, explicó el Dr. Khare.

En febrero de 2019, un aerosol oral de THC / CBD mencionado por el Dr. Khare, Sativex, fue parte del primer ensayo importante para determinar los efectos del cannabis en pacientes con demencia. El medicamento había sido aprobado previamente para pacientes con esclerosis múltiple.

Otros creen que el cannabis puede ser una opción de tratamiento en los casos en que se requieren drogas si otros métodos no producen resultados. El Dr. Krista Lanctôt es profesor de la Universidad de Toronto y científico principal del Programa de Investigación de Ciencias del Cerebro Hurvitz en el Centro de Ciencias de la Salud Sunnybrook. En julio de 2018, escribió cómo los problemas de agitación deberían tratarse primero con soluciones no farmacológicas, aunque algunas afecciones requieren medicamentos, incluido el cannabis. El Dr. Lanctôt pasó a comparar soluciones médicas estándar y cannabinoides.

Ella escribió: “De hecho, los medicamentos que tienden a ser los más efectivos a veces pueden provocar un derrame cerebral o incluso la muerte. Los cannabinoides, por otro lado, interactúan con el cuerpo de manera diferente, lo que significa que podrían ser más seguros y más efectivos en general para alguien que experimenta agitación “.

El médico agregó: “Algunos de [los] efectos [del cannabis] incluso se cree que ayudan a reducir la muerte de las células cerebrales”.

Si bien no es suficiente para probar más allá de una duda, los estudios a lo largo de los años han concluido que el cannabis tiene el potencial de ayudar a abordar muchos efectos secundarios adversos provocados por la demencia. Esto incluye un estudio abierto de 2019 que descubrió que el cannabis puede mejorar el comportamiento de los pacientes con demencia. Un estudio abierto de 2016 también encontró que los síntomas del cannabis “disminuyeron significativamente”, incluidos los delirios, la agresión, la irritabilidad, el sueño y la apatía, lo que también resulta en niveles más bajos de angustia para el cuidador.

A pesar de los hallazgos de los estudios individuales, no se puede establecer una asociación positiva entre el cannabis y el tratamiento de la demencia en este momento. Mientras que algunos médicos como el Dr. Khare creen que el CBD puede ayudar a calmar a un paciente, y el THC puede actuar como un sedante rápido, otros se preocupan por la cognición general del paciente. El científico asociado del Centro de Ciencias de la Salud Sunnybrook en Toronto, Dr. Nathan Herrmann, fue uno de los que pensó esto. “Hay buenas razones para preocuparse de que los cannabinoides puedan empeorar la función cognitiva, ya sea por efectos directos o por la sedación excesiva”, dijo una vez.

El Dr. Herrmann y su equipo citaron la falta de estudios, muchos de los cuales señalaron pocos o ningún efecto positivo. Los investigadores tenían como objetivo proporcionar mayor claridad con un análisis propio. Los hallazgos de su primer ensayo clínico con cannabinoides sintéticos como tratamiento para el Alzheimer se publicaron en julio de 2018. Los resultados indicaron que el medicamento Nabilone puede ayudar a mejorar los síntomas de un paciente. El equipo espera llevar a cabo un estudio más extenso para confirmar sus conclusiones sobre la agitación mientras determina si Nabilone puede mejorar el apetito de los pacientes y disminuir los niveles de dolor.

Como siempre, consulte con un profesional médico antes de tratar la demencia o cualquier afección relacionada con el cannabis.

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House of Representatives Passes SAFE Banking Act

The U.S. House of Representatives voted on Wednesday to approve a bill that would allow legal cannabis businesses access to the nation’s banking system. The measure, the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act, was passed with a House floor vote by a margin of 321 to 103.

If passed by the Senate and signed into law, federal banking regulators would be prohibited from penalizing banks that choose to serve cannabis firms doing business in accordance with state law. Under current regulations, banks are subject to penalties under federal money laundering and other laws for servicing such companies, leaving the cannabis industry to operate in a risky environment heavy in cash.

Activists Laud House Vote

Justin Strekal, the political director for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), noted the historical significance of Wednesday’s vote in the House.

“For the first time ever, a supermajority of the House voted affirmatively to recognize that the legalization and regulation of marijuana is a superior public policy to prohibition and criminalization.”

Steve Hawkins, the executive director of cannabis policy reform group the Marijuana Policy Project, noted that passage of the bill will result in greater opportunities for entrepreneurs seeking licensure under state and local social equity programs.

“It is important to recognize that the SAFE Banking Act, if passed by the Senate and signed into law by the President, would strengthen efforts to increase the diversity of the cannabis industry,” he said.

“Many states that have legalized cannabis for adults have launched efforts to ensure that there are economic opportunities for communities of color that have been most severely impacted by marijuana prohibition,” Hawkins added. “Access to capital remains an obstacle to this goal, and the SAFE Banking Act would help to address this problem.”

Senate Action Needed Next

In the Senate, a companion bill (S. 1200) was introduced by Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon and Republican Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado in April and now has 33 cosponsors. Aaron Smith, the executive director of the National Cannabis Industry Association, called on senators to follow the House’s lead.

“Now, it’s time for the Senate to take swift action to approve the SAFE Banking Act so that this commonsense legislation can make its way to the President’s desk,” said Smith. “This bipartisan legislation is vital to protecting public safety, fostering transparency, and leveling the playing field for small businesses in the growing number of states with successful cannabis programs.”

Neal Levine, the CEO of industry group the Cannabis Trade Federation, called on lawmakers to quickly pass the bill into law.

“This is a serious public safety matter that needs to be addressed by Congress this session,” Levine said. “It is only going to grow in urgency and magnitude as states continue to roll back cannabis prohibition policies. Enacting the SAFE Banking Act would greatly bolster states’ efforts to promote safety, regulatory compliance, and equity within the cannabis industry. Cannabis-related companies are lawfully operating in states around the country, and they deserve the same access to banking that is afforded to every other type of lawful business.”

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Governor of Pennsylvania Asks Legislators To Cons > 26 Sep 2019 Cheech Marin

Tom Wolf, the Governor of Pennsylvania, now numbers himself among Pennsylvanians who stand in favor of legalizing recreational cannabis. It took some time for Gov. Wolf to come around to this position, and the efforts of his Lt. Governor, John Fetterman, are largely to thank for evolution on the issue of legal marijuana.

On Wednesday, Wolf held a press conference announcing his office’s publication of the report on Lt. Gov. Fetterman’s statewide cannabis listening tour. That report showed significant majority support for recreational legalization among those who attended listening tour events, as well as residents who weighed in online. As a result, Gov. Wolf said that he now supports legislative efforts to make recreational cannabis use legal. And he’s calling on lawmakers to draft a bill that puts criminal justice reforms at the heart of the state’s plan to legalize weed.

Listening Tour Report Persuades Gov. Wolf to Support Recreational Legalization

Public officials in Pennsylvania began 2019 with some serious momentum toward legalizing recreational cannabis. In addition to an early 2019 poll placing pro-legalizing support at 59 percent among Pennsylvania voters and an overwhelming show of support for legalization among attendees of Fetterman’s listening tour events—with one county offering unanimous support—Pennsylvania senators introduced a bill in March, SB 350, to legalize adult cannabis use.

That bill included many provisions to address disparities in cannabis law enforcement and earmark tax revenue for schools and other public services. Specifically, SB 350 would have not just expunged criminal records for non-violent cannabis convictions and halt any pending marijuana cases, it also would have commuted the sentence of anyone currently behind bars for misdemeanor marijuana offenses.

At the time, however, Gov. Tom Wolf had signaled only that he supported taking a closer look at recreational legalization. He did not yet have a clear stance on the issue. Even while hesitant to embrace full legalization, however, Gov. Wolf still championed marijuana policy reform. Beyond his long-time support for decriminalizing marijuana, Wolf signed the state’s 2016 medical marijuana bill into law, and this summer his administration oversaw a significant expansion to the state’s medical cannabis program. But it was Lt. Gov. Fetterman’s report on his statewide tour that ultimately persuaded the Gov. Wolf to endorse recreational.

Gov. Wolf Gives Legislators Three Recommendations for New Legal Weed Bill

Tweeting after a Wednesday press conference, Gov. Wolf called on the Pennsylvania Legislature to implement three key recommendations in any new cannabis-related legislation. The three recommendations stem directly from Lt. Gov. Fetterman’s report. First, Wolf wants lawmakers to draft a bill to decriminalize low-level cannabis offenses, a position he has himself long held. Beyond that, Wolf wants lawmakers to pass a bill to expunge past convictions of minor cannabis-related crimes. And finally, Wolf wants legislators to have a serious debate over the issue of legal recreational cannabis. Should lawmakers side with legalization, Wolf signaled Wednesday that he would sign such a bill.

It’s so far unclear whether Wolf would support a bill that would commute the sentences of those currently serving time for marijuana offenses, as SB 350 proposed this past March. But during the Wednesday press conference, Gov. Wolf reminded Pennsylvanians that expedited pardons for low-level marijuana convictions are already available from the governor’s office. In other words, those with cannabis-related criminal records don’t have to wait for lawmakers to pass an expungement bill.

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Tatewari tactical seeds
Date: 2008年5月14日 2:57:33 GMT-05:00

Jake Adelstein’s Blog, page 47

December 7, 2012

On Modern Slavery: Thoughts on Human Trafficking

Michiel Brandt died from complications of leukemia in July of 2012, at age 30. This was the essay she submitted to the Monterey Institute of International Studies on why she wanted to attend the school. It’s a heartfelt and concise piece on what “human trafficking” really means.
She graduated posthumously on December 8th, 2012. The Monterey Institute of International Studies thanks to her Professor Tsuneo Akaha and her friend Maria Pacana, has set up a fund in her honor. If you’d like to keep her dream and her memory alive, donations are always welcome. The essay was written while she was being treated for her third bout with leukemia.

Even as I lay like a pincushion with numerous intravenous lines running into my arms and legs, overwhelmed by the unbearable side effects of irradiation and chemotherapy, there was no doubt in my mind that I would overcome this damned cancer and live to do two things: travel the world, and pursue my ultimate passion to combat human trafficking.I was diagnosed with adult T-cell leukemia in the spring of 2005, a type of leukemia usually found in adults over forty years of age. As I was only twenty-three at the time, I was told upfront that I would most likely not live to see the next year. Even so, with a mere three percent survival rate, oddly, I never once doubted that I would survive. In August I was blessed with a bone marrow stem cell transplant from my brother who tested as a perfect match for me—a rarity even among siblings—and by fall I was discharged from the hospital, a miracle speedy recovery.

I want to pursue postgraduate studies because I aspire for a career at an international organization such as the IOM (International Organization for Migration), where I can fight for my all-time passion to combat human trafficking. [Not only do I find it personally abhorrent, but intellectually, it] is a terrible exploit of labor that robs women, men and children of their freedom and dignity. In fact, human trafficking is too polite of a term. “Modern slavery” is a more apt expression. Perhaps if portrayed by this term, more people would share my vehemence to combat it.

Everything is for sale in Japan. The lines between sex-worker and human trafficking victim are sometimes blurry, sometimes crystal clear.

There are many approaches to combat this internationally organized crime. In the two years since I have earned by bachelor’s degree, I pursued several paths toward this goal. I did fieldwork with a nongovernmental organization called The Asia Foundation, assisting rescued victims of human trafficking in Japan by guiding them to shelters, getting in touch with their families, and arranging flights home if they desired it. I have also taken the approach of public awareness. In order to decrease the demand in Japan, I helped organize seminars with the Foundation to make the current situation public. The majority of Japanese do not have the faintest idea that they live in the largest destination country for victims of trafficking. Worse, most look down upon these foreigners with menial jobs, having no idea that they were tricked into coming to Japan, their passports taken away upon arrival, forced into debt, not paid for their services, and threatened with the death of their families if they were to run away.

I also contributed to an international study to record the situation of human trafficking across borders in order to combat it more effectively. I conducted research for a U.S. State Department-funded study of human trafficking, where I investigated the situation in Japan. During this time I participated in many international conferences on counter-trafficking, where I had the pleasure of working with embassies and international organizations such as the IOM.

I still wish to try to tackle human trafficking from other angles, such as awareness-raising in countries of origin at the grassroots level to inform potential victims of the dangers of trafficking. A legal approach also interests me, such as securing a visa for trafficked victims in Japan so that they can work legally, and making the T1 Visa in the U.S. more attainable to victims, as it is not. I aspire to work at the IOM or an organization like it, as it takes on many of these projects, and has the flexibility and resources to combat human trafficking using many different approaches.

I would like to attend a master’s program to realize my goals, to become a part of something greater and more influential, and to learn how to make my ideas really make a difference to help stop Modern Slavery.

Michiel Brandt, October of 2011.

Michiel Brandt Memorial Prize Fund (Monterey Institute of International Studies) – Please help us keep Michiel’s dream alive:

Here is how to give to this Fund:

2) Click on “Giving Now”; and,

3) Complete the giving form: under “2. Gift Information” “Direct Your Gift”, please select “Michiel Brandt Memorial Prize Fund.”

Happy Graduation To the Departed: Michiel Brandt. In Memoriam

“The pain then is part of the happiness now.” This reminds me of one of my favorite quotes, “Painful things are like knots on a beautiful necklace, necessary for keeping the beads in place.” The pain experienced will make me appreciate life more and find happiness in the little things. Knots in life are necessary to appreciate the beauty of life. –Michiel Brandt (�1981-2012)

Michiel “Mimi” Brandt would have been 31 this year. I wish she was around so I could have said “Happy Birthday” one more time, maybe feast on a chocolate covered chocolate birthday cake with her. She had quite a sweet tooth–and she was a sweet person. Over the last few months, I’ve gotten to know many of her friends that I had never met while she was alive and have come to understand how kind she was to her pals and how much she cared about me as a friend. I miss her. She was an ally, in writing and in combatting a human trafficking, a confidante, and a friend like no other. Sometimes, you don’t really know someone until they’re gone. I thought I’d be lighting candles on cupcakes on her birthday this year, not a stick of incense at a small altar. I don’t believe in reincarnation but theoretically, in Japanese buddhism, the soul is reborn after 49 days. So, if that’s the case, she’s already back in this world, somewhere. And today, I can congratulate her on something amazing and that was important to her.

Thanks to her Professor Tsuneo Akaha, she is going to graduate from the Monterey Institute of International Studies today, December 8th, 2012. Professor Akaha and Maria Pacana also helped set up a memorial fund in her honor. Details are at the bottom of the post.

Michiel passed away on July 9th, from complications of her third bone marrow transplant. She was thirty years old. She was one of the founders of this blog and my BFF (Best Friend Forever). We were friends for over eight years. If you’ve read Tokyo Vice, you’ll find the following acknowledgement: “Michiel Brandt, the most cheerful researcher and two time leukemia survivor in the world. She’s inspirational”.

I’ll have to correct that.

“She was the most cheerful researcher and four-time leukemia survivor in the world. She was inspirational and the best friend I have ever had.”

Michiel “Mimi” Brandt. November 2011.

Almost two weeks have gone by since she passed away. I couldn’t make it back to Japan for her funeral but her good friends and I were able to arrange a memorial service in San Francisco, which her brother attended. He brought her ashes and her parents joined by Skype. Over 25 people came on short notice, including her childhood friends, her college professor, her ex-boyfriend. She was very loved.

I know that she would want those of us that remain to celebrate life and the joy of living rather than be in mourning for weeks. Yet, I still find myself overcome with feelings of sadness and despair so dense that I feel like gravity has been turned up and I’m sinking into the earth. The blog has been neglected because I’ve been dysfunctional. I’ve written a eulogy for her here. It’s long, full of Japanese and English, and not well-written but the sentiment is heartfelt. I couldn’t find the words myself to express how charming, funny and compassionate she was so I’ve let her speak for herself at times. In between the lines of her letters, her emails, so much is said that I couldn’t articulate.

It’s so lengthy I doubt anyone will read it to the end but that’s okay. If one person who knew her reads it, or one person finds something inspiring in her words or her life, that’s enough. I am posting it here because she was one of the founders of Japan Subculture Research Center and this is my way of saying thank you for all you did for this blog, your loved ones, and for me. I have never had a truer friend.

When I first Michiel Brandt, I was still working at the Yomiuri Shimbun as a police reporter in 2004. She was studying in Japan at Waseda, after graduating from UCLA with a degree in political science and international relations, and intensely interested in the human trafficking problem and helping women victimized by the forces of darkness. She was charming, cheerful, curious, brave and bright. Her enthusiasm was contagious. We quickly became friends. I’m ashamed to say that at first I sort of considered her to be like a well-meaning muppet. It took me years to realize how substantial she was as a human being.

I remember the first time she was diagnosed with leukemia. Michiel, her friend Chris and my pal had all gone dancing at Vanilla (in Roppongi) and she suddenly felt ill. I thought she had drunk too much and was a little worried but made sure she got in a taxi home. And then I couldn’t reach her for days. Finally, I got ahold of her father and he told me what had happened. Leukemia.

Michiel survived four bouts of leukemia. She had two bone marrow transplants and final third bone marrow transplant which they hoped might cure her. She was born with a genetic predisposition to leukemia, and she was hit with four different types of leukemia during her short life.

The first bout of leukemia was very bad. The doctors gave her less than a 50% chance of survival. I visited her in the hospital as much as I could. I got her a portable DVD player and a load of bad movies so she could have something to do during those long hours in bed. It didn’t look good. However, her brother Daniel turned out to be a perfect bone marrow match and she lived. We were all ecstatic.

The first bone marrow transplant actually gave her curly hair. She sort of looked like little orphan Annie. So of course, I mercilessly made fun of her. Because that’s the kind of pal I am.

When I was creating this blog and writing Tokyo Vice in 2007 and 2008, Michiel gave advice, did translation, research and was a constant presence in my former digs in Nishi-Azabu. All my room-mates knew her and grew to love her. When I was put under police protection in March of 2008 and I told Michiel what was going on, she still continued to work for me on and off. She wasn’t afraid.

Michiel Brandt fact-checking the early draft of Tokyo Vice.

Before the Washington Post article came out in May of 2008, she was so worried that she started crying when she saw me and I was truly touched that anyone could care so much. I wrote to thank her and told her not to worry.

みみちゃん、色々ありがとうございます。泣いちゃだめですよ。大丈夫だから。(Thank you for everything. Don’t cry! I’m okay.)

一応、記事はここですよ。当局の一部は激怒です。案の定ですが、マル暴の刑事は受けが良い模様です。連絡するよ。頻繁に。(Here’s the article. The organized crime cops liked it, not everyone did. No surprise. I’ll keep you posted on a regular basis.)

I hate to say mushy crap, but I love you Michiel, like the little sister

that I always wanted. You’re great and I admire how you’ve handled all the things in the last two years. You inspire me more than you know and more than I will ever tell you. I don’t want your pumpkin head to get all swelled up with pride, you know.

From: Michiel Brandt

Subject: Re: The article

Date: 2008年5月14日 2:57:33 GMT-05:00

To: Joshua Adelstein

I’m glad to hear you’re okay. I am so sorry I broke down like that. I think I’ve been on pins and needles recently, and that last moment before the article came out was just too much for me. It’s just that, I’m quite fond of you, ya know. You really are like a big brother to me, and when I think about anything happening to you–はぁ~。心が締め付けられるよ。

I just want you to know how much respect I have for you. One of the cops’ wives at the party told me that her husband (the cop with the glasses) is embarrassed for you having to do what he and the others don’t have the courage to. And you’re a gaijin! He feels that you’re more Japanese in spirit than they are. なんと言うか、それを聞いて貴方をとても誇りに思いました。

Thank you for such kind words. Coming from you, they mean a lot. もう、また泣いちゃったじゃない!I can’t wait for all this to be over so we can gather at your place and laugh around the coffee table again!

I love you, Jake.

At the coffee table. Michiel’s hair was just starting to grow back after completing chemotherapy.

Things were good after that but by the Christmas of 2008, when I got her card, I knew that the leukemia was back. And it was my time to be worried about her. And I was.

A Christmas card from Michiel 2008. She never failed to send one. Even in this digital age. And unlike my writing, you can actually read it.

We kept in touch. She got better. She’d get sick again. I saw her in San Francisco, in Tokyo. We hung out when she was well and I visited her when she got ill and I always felt that no matter what, she’d be okay.

I never saw her get down. She survived every bout with leukemia with grace and dignity. She was never bitter, even when a resurgence of her leukemia completely shattered her plans and her work. She worked at the Asia Foundation. She went back to school in Monterey. We always stayed in touch. No matter how bad things got, she could find something positive in it.

She also had a huge hunger for social justice, to make the world a better place. Her essay, On Modern Slavery, which so eloquently explained why she wanted to attend Monterey Institute of International Studies is heartfelt and inspiring even now. Sometimes, I re-read it to remind myself why I stay with the Polaris Project Japan.

Michiel had a few years of good health. The leukemia came back. She was undaunted. When the leukemia reached her brain cells, she considered herself lucky that there was finally a medicine that could breach the brain-blood barrier. And she survived a little longer. She meditated, she read, she turned her hospital room into a little temple of good will and hope. Last November, after her 4th bout with leukemia Michiel returned to Japan for treatment. She was reluctant to do it because she was very close to getting her Masters from Monterey Institute of International Relations . But she didn’t have much of a choice. The US medical system is not kind to the seriously ill nor are insurance companies. She expressed gratitude that she had Japanese citizenship so that she could get medical treatment, a good treatment to boot.

I visited Michiel in the hospital whenever I could and when the doctors would let me. I brought her a cheesy $9.99 BFF necklace from the states. It was a yin-yang design. Michiel was very philosophical and meditated often. She was well-versed in Taoism, Buddhism and Eastern philosophy. I knew she’d appreciate the gesture and she did. I explained to her what a BFF necklace was and she made fun of me. “Jake, I was an eleven year old girl once. I know what a BFF is! You’re so silly.”

Best Friends Forever. I was hoping forever would last a little longer.

She was the yin (female/principle of darkness) and I was the yang (male/principle of light). But really,I think she was much stronger than me. She was the yin, but full of warmth and light. I’m full of darkness and cynicism. According to some schools of Taoism: “Yin and Yang are dependent opposing forces that flow in a natural cycle, always seeking balance. Though they are opposing, they are not in opposition to one another. As part of the Tao, they are merely two aspects of a single reality. Each contains the seed of the other, which is why we see a black spot of Yin in the white Yang and vice versa.” I took the dark half of the necklace. She took the light.

In that sense, we were like Will Halloway and Jim Nightshade. She was Will. I still have my half of the necklace. I was hoping someday that we’d join halves again. Wonder-twin powers: activate! (Only Justice League of America fans will get that reference.)

The Yin/Yang BFF necklace. The best $9.99 I ever spent.

Sometimes, we’d sit around the hospital room, reading books, chatting, listening to music, watching movies. We watched The Adjustment Bureau together. It made me think that God really doesn’t do a very good job of micro-managing the world. Because Mimi-chan was a very kind and sweet human being. She should have lived longer. She couldn’t leave the hospital very often. So I went to her. We did our cherry blossom viewing (花見) on the hospital grounds. She was dressed in a pink shirt and purple sweatpants when we went out. I joked that we should call her Princess Sakura. She just laughed. No one could rock a purple jumpsuit like Michiel.

The best cherry blossom viewing ever. Michiel is rocking that purple sweatsuit.

I’m repeating myself here but it’s hard to capture what Michiel was like in my own words. And after thinking about it for a very long time tonight, I’ll let her say what she was thinking in her own words. I edited our emails a little bit because even the departed have some things that should remain their own secrets. But I think she’d want people to know that she was ready to go and that she was at peace with it.

The last photo taken of Michiel, by her sister-in-law. She would have made a great Buddhist monk. We could have gone into business together. When posing for the picture, Mimi said, “I always look cool. Peace!”

On Wed, May 23, 2012 at 11:36 AM,

Joshua Adelstein wrote:

I was hoping my photos of gluten free cookies would bring a smile to your face.

When is the transplant surgery taking place? How are you feeling?

I’m back in Japan on the 29th and for a while.

I’d really like to hang out a bit.

Things are pretty good with me.

Here are some photos of the kids. Beni still remembers you!

From: Michiel Brandt

Subject: Hi!

Date: 2012年5月23日 11:31:13 GMT-05:00

To: Joshua Adelstein

Adorable photos! They sure put a smile on my face

Sorry for the delayed response, and oh my goodness, THANK YOU for the dvd player! I can’t believe you actually sent me a dvd player. You’re incredible, Jake. I’ve set it up and watched Galaxy Quest–hehe–great cast. And it’s awesome being able to watch the shows I’ve downloaded onto my flash drive on the big screen too!

I actually just opened your box yesterday. On Friday, as I was chill’n in my clean room, there was this sudden downpour of dark water from the ceiling! I was sent home at once so they could fix the problem and re-sterilize the room. Can you imagine if I had already had my transplant and was immuno-compromised? Scary. But I’m back in my room now, and with the reassurance of multiple checkups confirming that the room meets the standards of a “clean room” again, I’ll be beginning pre-transplant treatment tomorrow. Day 0 is the 31st.

I have to let it out. I’m scared. On Monday my doctors pulled me aside for a final confirmation meeting. They explained everything over again, as well as all the possible side effects for each treatment I’m receiving, and reiterated the fatal risk of this being my third transplant. Then they asked me if I still wanted to go through with it. Of course, I said yes.

I was aware of all the risks before, but now that it’s happening, I can’t help but be really afraid. And I think not having been able to talk about my fear hasn’t helped. I always feel I need to be strong for my family, strong for my friends even. I love my friends and they’re always there for me, rooting for me, but I’d hate to put them in a spot where they would feel the need to console me about something like this, you know? I mean, what could they say?

You are the only person I can be honest with, because you’ve been through so much and I know you’d understand. I’m not seeking consolation or reassurance. I just need to be able to talk about it openly with someone. Thanks for being that special someone for me

All that said, I don’t dwell on the fear either. Meditating, picturing myself getting through this smoothly, imagining my bright future that lies ahead, all help me stay positive and believe in my recovery. And now, yowane haitara sukkiri shita! Arigato! (I’m feeling better after admitting that I’m a little scared! Thank you!)

I wish I could see you when you get back, but I can’t have any more visitors Genki ni nattara jazz mini tsuretette! (When I get better, take me to see some jazz!)

From: Joshua Adelstein

Subject: Mimi-chama! So very good to hear from you and thank you for confiding in me. I am honored.

Date: 2012年5月23日 12:56:37 GMT-05:00

To: Michiel Brandt

I’m so glad. I’m going to take the time to write back to you right now in depth because now is always the best time. 思い立つが吉日

On 2012/05/23, at 11:31, Michiel Brandt wrote:

Adorable photos! They sure put a smile on my face

I hoped they would. they are such dorks. good god, beni makes fun of me amazingly well.

Sorry for the delayed response, and oh my goodness, THANK YOU for the dvd player! I can’t believe you actually sent me a dvd player. You’re incredible, Jake. I’ve set it up and watched Galaxy Quest–hehe–great cast. And it’s awesome being able to watch the shows I’ve downloaded onto my flash drive on the big screen too!

You’re totally welcome. I loved Galaxy Quest–because I’m a secret Trekkie. I idolized Spock. Probably because I have a pointed ear (just like Spock) and wished I could mind-meld, be stoically calm and logical, and kick ass when I had to with the Vulcan Grip.

Hey it’s not only a DVD player–it’s a Blu Ray player as well. And it can play a flash-drive? WHAT? Hey, give it back! (Just kidding).

I actually just opened your box yesterday. On Friday, as I was chill’n in my clean room, there was this sudden downpour of dark water from the ceiling! I was sent home at once so they could fix the problem and re-sterilize the room. Can you imagine if I had already had my transplant and was immuno-compromised? Scary. But I’m back in my room now, and with the reassurance of multiple checkups confirming that the room meets the standards of a “clean room” again, I’ll be beginning pre-transplant treatment tomorrow. Day 0 is the 31st.

Good god, you are lucky. 物は考えよう。I’m glad it’s a clean room again but if anything goes wrong, I’ll be happy to sue on your behalf. (LOL). Day 0 is the 31st? May I come? I know I can’t meet you but can’t I wave through the window at you. I’d really like to be there.

I have to let it out. I’m scared. On Monday my doctors pulled me aside for a final confirmation meeting. They explained everything over again, as well as all the possible side effects for each treatment I’m receiving, and reiterated the fatal risk of this being my third transplant. Then they asked me if I still wanted to go through with it. Of course, I said yes.

Michiel, it’s okay to be scared. I’m scared too. I’d really hate to lose you. I know the risks are high, as are the side effects.

I was aware of all the risks before, but now that it’s happening, I can’t help but be really afraid. And I think not having been able to talk about my fear hasn’t helped. I always feel I need to be strong for my family, strong for my friends even. I love my friends and they’re always there for me, rooting for me, but I’d hate to put them in a spot where they would feel the need to console me about something like this, you know? I mean, what could they say?

It’s true. It’s hard to know what to say. But I’ll tell you this–you have had a very good life. You have had a tremendously positive effect on people’s lives and you are loved. Certainly, you’ve had a very good influence on my life and I’m grateful. You may not realize but your support and kind words over the years have really kept me going and I have learned a lot from you. You are the closest I know to a living Buddha. Maybe if I’d dated you, I wouldn’t think so but fortunately this never happened.

You are the only person I can be honest with, because you’ve been through so much and I know you’d understand. I’m not seeking consolation or reassurance. I just need to be able to talk about it openly with someone. Thanks for being that special someone for me

I am really honored to be that person and it’s good that you’re not seeking consolation or reassurance because I’m terrible at those things. This may not cheer you up but I remember these very beautiful words I read as a child from Crowfoot, an Indian warrior and orator. I never forgot them. I still have the book my father gave me in which they were written.

What is life? It is the flash of a firefly in the night. It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime. It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset.

Crowfoot, Blackfoot warrior and orator

Life is a very transient thing. However, even being born is a miracle. It means that the sperm that was 1/2 of you beat out about several hundred thousand other sperm to the finish line–making you an amazing winner from the day you were conceived.

There is a possibility you may not make it. To deny that would be unfair. I think you will do very well. My spidey-sense says as much and I have very good instincts.

All that said, I don’t dwell on the fear either. Meditating, picturing myself getting through this smoothly, imagining my bright future that lies ahead, all help me stay positive and believe in my recovery. And now, yowane haitara sukkiri shita! Arigato!

It’s okay to be afraid. Fear and anger are powerful emotions and we can transmute them into positive energy. You have reasons to fear. “There is nothing to fear but fear itself.”

–Mmm, pardon me, that’s like total bullshit. But Holy Buddha, if there’s anyone that can get through this intact, it’s you. You are doing everything right and you are a tough little cookie. A tough little gluten-free and very sweet cookie.

I wish I could see you when you get back, but I can’t have any more visitors Genki ni nattara jazz mini tsuretette!

I hope that you’ll let me come on the 31st and wave at you through the window. When you get out of the hospital, we are definitely going to a jazz concert. And I’m taking you out for a great dinner.

xoxo

Mimi

PS. I think I should be honest here and say that over the years I have come to love you like a sister. And sometimes, I feel like I love you more than a guy should love his sister.

LOL. Which is my awkward way of saying I really care about you and I think you’re awesome.

In the best sense of the word, in that your happiness means as much to me or more than me than my own. You’re a great person.

I re-read this speech by Chief Seattle when I was waiting to see if I’d survive last year. It’s about the circle of life and it’s about death as well but it’s also about hope. I read it, made my peace with the fact that I’m mortal and I felt better, got better.

“To us the ashes of our ancestors are sacred and their resting place is hallowed ground. You wander far from the graves of your ancestors and seemingly without regret. Your religion was written upon tablets of stone by the iron finger of your God so that you could not forget. The Red Man could never comprehend or remember it. Our religion is the traditions of our ancestors — the dreams of our old men, given them in solemn hours of the night by the Great Spirit; and the visions of our sachems, and is written in the hearts of our people.

Your dead cease to love you and the land of their nativity as soon as they pass the portals of the tomb and wander away beyond the stars. They are soon forgotten and never return. Our dead never forget this beautiful world that gave them being. They still love its verdant valleys, its murmuring rivers, its magnificent mountains, sequestered vales and verdant lined lakes and bays, and ever yearn in tender fond affection over the lonely hearted living, and often return from the happy hunting ground to visit, guide, console, and comfort them.

Day and night cannot dwell together. The Red Man has ever fled the approach of the White Man, as the morning mist flees before the morning sun. However, your proposition seems fair and I think that my people will accept it and will retire to the reservation you offer them. Then we will dwell apart in peace, for the words of the Great White Chief seem to be the words of nature speaking to my people out of dense darkness.

It matters little where we pass the remnant of our days. They will not be many. The Indian’s night promises to be dark. Not a single star of hope hovers above his horizon. Sad-voiced winds moan in the distance. Grim fate seems to be on the Red Man’s trail, and wherever he will hear the approaching footsteps of his fell destroyer and prepare stolidly to meet his doom, as does the wounded doe that hears the approaching footsteps of the hunter.

A few more moons, a few more winters, and not one of the descendants of the mighty hosts that once moved over this broad land or lived in happy homes, protected by the Great Spirit, will remain to mourn over the graves of a people once more powerful and hopeful than yours. But why should I mourn at the untimely fate of my people? Tribe follows tribe, and nation follows nation, like the waves of the sea. It is the order of nature, and regret is useless. Your time of decay may be distant, but it will surely come, for even the White Man whose God walked and talked with him as friend to friend, cannot be exempt from the common destiny. We may be brothers after all. We will see.

We will ponder your proposition and when we decide we will let you know. But should we accept it, I here and now make this condition that we will not be denied the privilege without molestation of visiting at any time the tombs of our ancestors, friends, and children. Every part of this soil is sacred in the estimation of my people. Every hillside, every valley, every plain and grove, has been hallowed by some sad or happy event in days long vanished. Even the rocks, which seem to be dumb and dead as the swelter in the sun along the silent shore, thrill with memories of stirring events connected with the lives of my people, and the very dust upon which you now stand responds more lovingly to their footsteps than yours, because it is rich with the blood of our ancestors, and our bare feet are conscious of the sympathetic touch. Our departed braves, fond mothers, glad, happy hearted maidens, and even the little children who lived here and rejoiced here for a brief season, will love these somber solitudes and at eventide they greet shadowy returning spirits. And when the last Red Man shall have perished, and the memory of my tribe shall have become a myth among the White Men, these shores will swarm with the invisible dead of my tribe, and when your children’s children think themselves alone in the field, the store, the shop, upon the highway, or in the silence of the pathless woods, they will not be alone. In all the earth there is no place dedicated to solitude. At night when the streets of your cities and villages are silent and you think them deserted, they will throng with the returning hosts that once filled them and still love this beautiful land. The White Man will never be alone.

Let him be just and deal kindly with my people, for the dead are not powerless. Dead, did I say? There is no death, only a change of worlds.”

On Sat, May 26, 2012 at 2:32 AM, Joshua Adelstein ‪ wrote: I hope I didn’t say the wrong thing

Hey, I hope you’re feeling good and not nervous about the surgery.

I wish I could give you a big hug.

When you’re recovered and ready to hit the town, I’m going to take you shopping for a nice red dress and we’ll go to the Blue Note and eat an awe inspiring gluten free meal with chopsticks and groove to the finest jazz inTokyo.

Deal? I get to cover the tab because I’m your 先輩!(^_−)−☆

From: Michiel Brandt

Subject: Re: I hope I d />

Date: 2012年5月25日 19:48:38 GMT-05:00

To: Joshua Adelstein

No! I’m so sorry I even made you think that. I was so touched by what you sa />

The treatment’s been killing me. Literally, they are killing the cells in my body to make room for my mom’s. I’m either really sick or asleep. But this morning my fever broke and I feel well. Though in a couple hours I’ll have to go through it all over again =/

It is incredibly sweet that you want to wave at me through my plastic curtain during the transplant, but I’d hate for you to make the trip and not even be able to talk! 気持ちだけありがたく頂きます:)Instead, I’ll be looking forward to getting better and going to see jazz with you! In my sexy red dress

Sorry if I can’t write, but I’ll let you know how I’m doing whenever I can.

You take care too!

She told me not to come to the hospital on the day of her bone marrow transplant but I didn’t know if I’d be able to see her again, so I ignored her and went anyway and I’m glad I did. It was the morning of May 31st. She was in the clean room and so I had to wear a mask and disinfect myself. Her father was there and I wasn’t supposed to stay long. I stayed anyway and we talked. As I was getting ready to leave, she reached out her hand and I took it. Our eyes met and she smiled and so did I. There was nothing left to be said and nothing that needed to be said.

The memorial service in San Francisco. Gluten free cookies were served, of course.

Her hand felt so warm and soft in mine, the warmth radiated through me like drinking a mug of Mexican Coffee on a Missouri winter morning.

In that comfortable silence, I held her hand and I didn’t want to let go.

I still don’t want to.

It’s strange to remember a tactile sensation, a lingering touch. However, I find that sometimes as I drift off to sleep, I still can feel her hand in my mine and the memory fills me with a sense of peace and compassion and something effusive that I can’t quite name.

Love wouldn’t be the word but it would come close.

She was one of the most, if not the most, considerate, caring and kind people I have ever had the honor of knowing.

I should end by saying, Michiel Brandt, rest in peace but I can’t say that. I’m a neo-Buddhist. I’m a staunch near believer in reincarnation.

LIke I said at the beginning, In some schools of Japanese buddhism, the soul is believed to reincarnate after forty-nine days. The day is coming soon.

So I won’t say “rest in peace”. All I can say is Mimi-chan, please come back soon. The world needs you.

I need you. You are missed.

What Mimi learned in her lifetime. She brought great happiness into the lives of many.

The Michiel Brandt Memorial Prize Fund — Please help us keep Michiel’s dream alive:

Here is how to give to this Fund:

2) Click on “Giving Now”; and,

3) Complete the giving form: under “2. Gift Information” “Direct Your Gift”, please select “Michiel Brandt Memorial Prize Fund.”